By now you’ll be more than familiar with the ever-expanding live streaming platform that is Twitch. As a gamer, it’s likely that you enjoy watching the odd stream of your favourite game or you might be a dedicated viewer of a particular channel. You may even dabble in broadcasting yourself, but you’ll certainly be aware of the meteoric rise of Twitch gaming over the past few years. What started as a subsidiary of early lifecasting website Justin.tv has become a thriving community of epic proportions and what the viewers want more than anything is more gaming streams.
This hunger for gaming content has brought fame and fortune to a whole new wave of online personalities. Whilst follower numbers are nowhere near the numbers that YouTubers like PewDiePie entertain, it has shot up into the millions for the likes of streamers Ninja and Shroud. So, just how does this seemingly accidental platform make dreams come true?
Gaming on Twitch: The Figures
We’ve already gone into just how much Twitch streamers can earn on the platform, with top gamers like Ninja and Tfue making upwards of $500,000 a month. However, the legions of dedicated fans and viewers that have elevated them to such great heights are growing in number by the hour.
Twitch is currently averaging 1.3 million viewers per day across the platform, and that number has steadily been increasing since the site debuted in 2011. The main chunk of these viewers will be tuning in to live streams of Fortnite and League of Legends, by far the two games with the biggest audiences on this platform.
At any one time, there are about 45,000 channels live on Twitch. Just like with the YouTuber boom in recent years, Twitch streamers could soon become the new superstars of the modern media landscape.
The Big Five Names
At the moment, some of the biggest names on Twitch are:
- ‘super streamer’ Tyler “Ninja” Blevins
- Michael “shroud” Grzesiek
- Turner “Tfue” Tenney
- Ali “TSM_myth” Kabbani and
- Jaryd “summit1g” Lazar
Three of these guys mainly stream Fortnite whereas the other two stream a variety of other fan favourites like Grand Theft Auto V and World of Warcraft. If you’re thinking that earning money from playing your favourite games all day sounds like the best job ever then you’re right. But it’s not as easy as all that.
For a start, these people are good at what they do. Ninja is phenomenally successful on Fortnite and approaches his gameplay as seriously as any other professional would their work. Putting in somewhere between 5 and 10 hours of gaming on an average day, this is certainly a marathon and not a sprint. Clearly, it’s paying off though, as he’s currently worth about $10 million.
Another important aspect of having a successful channel, besides the sheer amount of hours dedicated to streaming, is personality. The top streamers are not just fantastic players, they also interact with their viewers and are entertaining to watch. For Twitch streamers, the audience is everything so they can offer incentives to keep engaging like exclusive emotes and tips for better gameplay. After all, watching one of these masters at work is like a free lesson in itself.
It’s not just video games that lend themselves so well to the Twitch streaming platform. Much like the initial YouTuber boom, there are popular streamers from all walks of life and every discipline, including musicians, artists, poker players and people who just love to chat. The most successful category on the platform outside of gaming is IRL or In Real Life. Much like YouTubers’ daily vlogs, this allows people a glimpse into the everyday life of their favourite streamers.
Other popular categories include card and board games like Poker, a karaoke-type category called Twitch Sings, and Art which covers everything from digital art to painting to live tattooing.